The Cincinnati Bengals were dealt an untimely blow following their Week 16 win over the New England Patriots. During the game, right tackle La'el Collins suffered what looked to be a nasty injury and turns out, it was indeed a nasty injury.
News came in on Christmas day that Collins sustained an ACL and MCL sprain and will miss the rest of the season, per Kelsey Conway. Considering that Collins told Conway he didn't feel it was too serious, this was pretty surprising news but the injury did look bad.
With Collins now out for the rest of the season, what is the game plan on the Bengals' offensive line?
What will the Bengals do now that La'el Collins is out for the season?
Fortunately, the Bengals do have experienced backups on their roster. Hakeem Adeniji, a former sixth-round pick out of Kansas in 2020, was originally expected to be the new starting right tackle with Collins out. On Thursday, however, Joe Burrow was asked about who the replacement would be and he responded with "Zay", which was later revealed to be Isaiah Prince. Perhaps Prince is going to be the new starting tackle.
Adeniji has played all over the Bengals' o-line since joining the team in 2020. Last year, he and Jackson Carman took turns playing right guard and while it didn't go great, Adeniji has shown potential at the tackle spots in the past.
As a rookie in 2020, Adeniji played 165 snaps at left tackle while Jonah Williams was banged up and also took 63 snaps at right tackle. He graded out at 51.6 overall that year per PFF and had similar grades as a pass-blocker (53.6) and run-blocker (53.3).
As for Prince, he played 384 snaps last year and finished the season with a mere 49.5 PFF grade in pass-blocking but did well as a run-blocker. He hasn't played a single snap this season, however, so it'd be interesting going with him at right tackle over Adeniji.
It's obviously not ideal to lose your starting right tackle with two games to go in the regular-season but the Bengals could be in a much worse spot. Adeniji isn't perfect by any means but he has experience starting at three different spots on the o-line with right tackle being one of them.
Here's to hoping that Collins wasn't the glue that was keeping this team together and they can continue to win without him as their starting right tackle.